Clean Meal Plan For Weight Loss

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The clean meal plan for weight loss is all about eating specific meals in order to reach your goal. Usually, people who have diabetes or that obesity, use this diet chart because it is one of the best ways to lose weight. Furthermore, it also has many benefits and helps in improving the health of all users.

How to Lose Weight by Eating: The Clean Eating Diet Plan

With that in mind, I created the Lose Weight by Eating Diet Plan. Below you’ll find a weight loss diet plan that emphasizes the importance of what you eat over exercise.

Exercise is part of it too, but food is the main focus because this is Lose Weight By Eating.  Best of all, the plan and the recipes are all free because weight loss, real weight loss, shouldn’t cost you a fortune.

Follow the 4 Steps below and try to tune out the noise of the fad diets. This tried and true weight loss plan has helped thousands of people lose weight and keep it off.

The 4 Steps to Clean Eating Weight Loss:

  1. Remove all processed foods and artificial sweeteners from your diet
  2. Plan your meals and log what you eat and drink
  3. Move your body more
  4. Drink a gallon of water a day

Below we will drill down into each step… But before we do that I want to stress that each of these steps are just goals, not rules. If you mess up, that’s ok, we all mess up. It’s what you do after you mess up that counts.

Step #1: Remove all processed foods and artificial sweeteners from your diet.

Love cheese? How about chocolate? At Lose Weight By Eating we don’t encourage you to give up what you love. In fact the only thing we encourage you to give up is the artificial foods and embrace clean eating.

What is Clean Eating?

Clean eating is the best described as removing all processed, artificial foods from your diet. And instead focusing on healthy, whole, unprocessed foods.

Your body is from nature, bring it back to nature and reap the rewards of eating clean, like living a longer, healthier life, have great glowing skin and hair, fast weight loss and healthy weight maintenance.

You wouldn’t feed your pet bird cardboard, would you? No, you would feed them nuts and seeds just like the natural food they have in the wild.

It’s time to start thinking of yourself as the bird, feed yourself what humans found and grew in the wild hundreds and thousands of years ago, not “frankenfood” made in a laboratory.

How to Eat Clean

The best way to understand and implement Step 1 is to skip the boxed, pre-made foods. Instead shop the perimeter of the grocery store.

By shopping just the perimeter of the grocery store you’ll pick up organic fruits and veggies. Lean protein from the butcher, and freshly baked bread from the store bakery.

You’re only buying fresh food. Of course this is more metaphor than rule. Organic pasta, rice and beans are usually found in isles as well are organic whole wheat flour and spices.

Clean Eating Meal Plan for Weight Loss – 7, 14, or 21 Day

It is easy to create a clean eating meal plan, when you have all the tools!

Below, we have shared 10 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 10 dinners, and 10 snacks (40 total low calorie recipes) PLUS a printable clean eating meal plan pdf and directions on how to fill out a meal planner.

Just incase you don’t find the breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks you’re craving, we’ve included links to 100’s more free clean eating recipes as well.

Be sure to choose these ingredients in the purest forms, pick up the organic brown rice. Not the box of rice mixture with the spices. The only ingredient on the label should be “brown rice.”

If you don’t quite feel comfortable cooking in this way, don’t fret. Lose Weight By Eating will provide you with what to eat to lose weight. It’s full of easy, delicious low calorie, all natural clean eating recipes. All these recipes taste like the comfort food you and your family crave.

Eat More Fat Burning Foods

Fat burning foods are a staple in the Lose Weight By Eating weight loss plan.

We make small swaps to recipes to turn them into metabolism boosting foods.

For instance… swapping out buttermilk for almond milk in a pancake recipe. This can cut calories and add natural fat burners to your diet.

Little changes in recipes and your diet can make a big difference in your weight loss success. Check out some of my favorite metabolism boosting recipes.

Top Foods that Burn Fat:

  1. Hot Peppers
  2. Green Tea and Coffee
  3. Whole Grains, Quinoa and Oats
  4. Grapefruit and other Citrus Fruits
  5. Lean Poultry and Fish
  6. Beans and Lentils
  7. Berries
  8. Apples
  9. Almonds, Almond milk and Almond butter
  10. Eggs
  11. Greek Yogurt
  12. Spinach and Broccoli

Fat burning ingredients can be added to many recipes. Just keep in mind that organic food will have more nutrition and therefor more metabolism boosting nutrition.

Step #2: Plan your meals and log what you eat and drink.

I realize this sounds like homework, would it help if we called it studying instead?

Planning your meals and logging what you eat and drink is part of this “studying”. You will naturally start memorizing how many calories are in your favorite meals and ingredients.

Best of all you will learn your own eating habits and cravings, so over time you can better plan your meals to suit your cravings.

After a couple weeks you may see you consistently have a 3:00 pm craving for carbs. You can head off that craving in advance with a skinny sandwich at lunch. Or, a sweet craving at 10:00 am can be managed with a sweet oatmeal breakfast.

5 Meal Prep Lunches/Dinners (UNDER 395 CALORIES)

These 5 meal prep lunches are all 392 calories OR LESS!

Meal prepping lunches and dinners has never been easier with this handy guide.

We recommend picking 1-2 meal perps per week, then alternating them each day so your tastebuds don’t get bored.

Special Note: The nutrition is based off the Teriyaki Chicken Meal Prep Recipe as it has the highest calories. Each recipe link will supply you with a nutrition label and printable recipe card too!

So as tedious as this one step might seem,  it is an important step for both weight loss and maintenance later on and it holds everything together.

Having a meal plan helps you manage plateaus while keeping you motivated. In the long run you’ve studied for your new healthy lifestyle and for your new figure. It makes it easier to maintain your weight loss diet when you have done the studying.

So don’t skip this step, you’re studying for the most important test of your life… your health.

Meal Plan

By making a meal plan to lose weight, you are setting yourself up for weight loss success.

Have you ever become extra motivated to exercise after a purchase of a new yoga mat, or running shoes? Making a meal plan is motivational in the same way.

If you sit down and take the time to plan out your meals you are more likely to stick to it. This is because you took the time to do it.

You’ll find it’s easier to stay on plan knowing you have a yummy meal coming up later today, and you’ll be less likely to splurge knowing you have a plan to follow.

How Many Calories Should I Plan to Eat?

Since we are talking about setting a meal plan. We also need to talk about how many calories you should plan to eat.

If your goal is to lose weight, all you need to know is your goal weight. The equation is easy; add a zero to the end of your goal weight to find your daily calorie goal.

Just be sure not to go under 1200 calories per day! This will send your metabolism into preservation mode, which may cause your body to hold onto weight instead of releasing it.

Say your goal weight is 135 pounds, your daily calorie intake should be 1350 calories.

Step #3: Move your body more

Weight loss is 70% what you eat and 30% exercise.

Many people often think exercise is more important in weight loss and they disregard the healthy diet part.

That is why Step #3 is to move more. You don’t have to train for a marathon to lose weight, however exercise will speed up the process and, perhaps more importantly, tone your body.

After Workout Banana Smoothie

This 128 calorie smoothie is fantastic after a workout! The potassium in both the bananas and watermelon help you recover faster… and it’s a great calorie count for an after workout snack.

Many people ask me what to do about extra skin, or loose skin, after weight loss. And the answer is always “that’s what exercise is for.”

If all you can do is a 20 minute yoga video after the kids go down for their nap, or a walk with the dog after work, find a way to make the most of it. And whenever possible increase the time you exercise, if even by 5 minutes.

How to Lose Weight Without Exercise

So what happens when you can’t exercise?

There are many people with health and physical difficulties who can’t exercise in the traditional way. For those people, I assure you that you can still lose weight.

Like I said above, weight loss is 70% what you eat and 30% exercise. So if you can’t exercise you have to be spot on with your diet plan to lose weight.

You also have to do your best to move your body more. That can mean taking the stairs instead of the elevator or even working extra hard at physical therapy.

Do as much as you can, follow the other 3 steps and you will see the weight melt off.

Step #4: Drink a gallon of water a day

Water is key to losing weight.

Besides tasting great, studies have proven that drinking water naturally boosts your metabolism along with many additional water health benefits. It fills you up, flushes your system and naturally increases metabolism.

How Much Water Should I Drink to Lose Weight

We recommend you try to drink a gallon of water (3 ¾ liters) a day. This will help weight loss and even in general better health.

A gallon of water may seem like a lot… but it’s a good weight loss goal to strive for each day.

By having 40 ounces of water in the al morning, noon and night you will stay full and hydrated.

5 BEST Infused Water for Weight Loss Recipes

These weight loss water detox drinks all help boost metabolism, reduce bloat, improve your immune system, and shed fat!

Listed in order of easiness (the first only have 2 ingredients as the last two have 4 ingredients) all 5 infused water for weight loss recipes can be made ahead of time.

The large amount of water helps increase your metabolism and flush your system. It’s a great aid to weight loss and an easy step that almost anyone can achieve.

If you can’t get to a gallon, that’s OK. Start slow with 60 ounces per day. Then increase by an extra 10 ounces each day until you are at a full gallon.

If you feel like your healthy habits have gotten off track, this simple take on a clean-eating meal plan can help you get back to the eating habits that help you feel your best. Over the course of this 14-day diet plan, you’ll get your fill of healthy whole foods-some that you’ll prep from scratch and others that you can buy from the store (see our Clean-Eating Shopping Tips for finding our favorite versions of packaged foods).

The meals and snacks in this plan will have you feeling energized, satisfied and good about what’s on your plate. And at 1,200 calories, this diet meal plan will set you up to lose upwards of 4 pounds over the 2 weeks.

Clean-Eating Meal Plan for Beginners

If you’re new to clean eating, the premise is simple—and following a meal plan (or simply using it for inspiration) can make it even easier to understand what it’s all about. Clean-eating is a great way to up your intake of good-for-you foods (like whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats and plenty of fruits and veggies), while limiting the stuff that can make you feel not-so-great in large amounts (think refined carbs, alcohol, added sugars and hydrogenated fats).

Here at EatingWell, we approach clean-eating sensibly. While all foods can be part of a healthy diet, sometimes you just need to hit reset and focus on eating more of the healthy foods you may be skimping on. With 14 days of wholesome meals and snacks, this easy-to-follow clean-eating meal plan is a great way get more of those good for you foods.

If 14 days feel like too much, start with our 3-Day Clean Eating Kick-Start Meal Plan and go from there. Once you conquer this 14-day plan, try our Clean-Eating Challenge for 30 days, where you can plan to eat tons of delicious clean-eating foods, like what you’ll find in this meal plan.

Week 1

How to Meal Prep Your Week of Meals:

A little prep at the beginning of the week goes a long way to make rest of the week easy.

  1. Meal prep the Greek Meatball Mezze Bowls to have for lunch on Days 2 through 5. Store in an air-tight container to keep fresh for the week. (To buy: amazon.com, $26 for 5-pack)
  2. Make a double batch of the Lemon-Tahini Dressing. You’ll use it throughout the week for lunch and dinner. Store in this classic glass salad dressing container. (To buy: amazon.com, $8)
  3. Cook a double batch of the Easy Brown Rice to use throughout the week. Store in a large glass meal-prep container. (To buy: amazon.com, $38) Because Day 1’s dinner—the Kale Salad with Beets & Wild Rice—calls for wild rice, you can choose to either prep a bigger batch of wild rice or swap in brown rice in the recipe so you’re not having to make two different rices.

Day 1

Breakfast (287 calories)

* 1 serving Muesli with Raspberries

Clean-Eating Shopping Tip: When buying muesli, look for a brand that doesn’t have added sugars, which take away from the healthy goodness of this whole-grain breakfast.

A.M. Snack (62 calories)

* 1 medium orange

Lunch (360 calories)

* 4 cups White Bean & Veggie Salad

P.M. Snack (95 calories)

* 1 medium apple

Dinner (420 calories)

* 4 cups (1 1/2 servings) Kale Salad with Beets & Wild Rice

* 1 serving Balsamic-Dijon Chicken

Daily Totals: 1,224 calories, 61 g protein, 153 g carbohydrates, 40 g fiber, 47 g fat, 1,400 mg sodium.

Day 2

Breakfast (270 calories)

* 1 serving Avocado-Egg Toast

Clean-Eating Shopping Tip: Use sprouted-grain bread as your bread for these next two weeks as it’s made without added sugars, unlike many store-bought breads. Also, if you plan to top your egg toast with hot sauce, look for a brand that’s made without added sugars.

A.M. Snack (101 calories)

* 1 medium pear

Lunch (392 calories)

* 1 serving Greek Meatball Mezze Bowl

P.M. Snack (62 calories)

* 1 medium orange

Dinner (439 calories)

* 1 serving cup Squash & Red Lentil Curry

* 1/2 cup Easy Brown Rice

Daily Totals: 1,225 calories, 63 g protein, 147 g carbohydrates, 33 g fiber, 46 g fat, 1,965 mg sodium.

Day 3

Breakfast (287 calories)

* 1 serving Muesli with Raspberries

A.M. Snack (62 calories)

* 1 medium orange

Lunch (392 calories)

* 1 serving Greek Meatball Mezze Bowl

P.M. Snack (92 calories)

* 12 almonds

Dinner (439 calories)

* 1 serving Asian Tilapia with Stir-Fried Green Beans

* 1 cup Easy Brown Rice

Daily Totals: 1,206 calories, 62 g protein, 174 g carbohydrates, 37 g fiber, 48 g fat, 1,444 mg sodium.

Day 4

Breakfast (257 calories)

* 1/2 cup rolled oats, cooked in 1 cup milk

* 1 medium plum, chopped

Cook oats and top with plum and a pinch of cinnamon.

A.M. Snack (95 calories)

* 1 medium apple

Lunch (392 calories)

* 1 serving Greek Meatball Mezze Bowl

P.M. Snack (105 calories)

* 1 medium banana

Dinner (432 calories)

* 1 serving Sheet-Pan Chicken & Brussels Sprouts

* 1 1/2 cups mixed greens dressed with 2 Tbsp. Lemon-Tahini Dressing

Daily Totals: 1,214 calories, 58 g protein, 166 g carbohydrates, 32 g fiber, 41 g fat, 1,553 mg sodium.

Day 5

Breakfast (290 calories)

* 1 serving Peanut Butter-Banana Cinnamon Toast

Clean-Eating Shopping Tip: When choosing a store-bought peanut butter, avoid brands with added sugars and trans fats. Read more about choosing a healthy peanut butter.

A.M. Snack (32 calories)

* 1/2 cup raspberries

Lunch (392 calories)

* 1 serving Greek Meatball Mezze Bowl

Dinner (543 calories)

* 1 serving Pork Chops with Garlicky Broccoli

Daily Totals: 1,225 calories, 54 g protein, 102 g carbohydrates, 30 g fiber, 71 g fat, 1,175 mg sodium.

Day 6

Breakfast (257 calories)

* 1/2 cup rolled oats, cooked in 1 cup milk

* 1 medium plum, chopped

Cook oats and top with plum and a pinch of cinnamon.

A.M. Snack (101 calories)

* 1 medium pear

Lunch (325 calories)

* 1 serving Veggie & Hummus Sandwich

Clean-Eating Shopping Tip: Double-check the ingredient list on hummus to make sure you’re choosing one without added sugars or excess sodium. You can also try making your own. EatingWell’s Garlic Hummus is both easy and delicious.

P.M. Snack (62 calories)

* 1 medium orange

Dinner (543 calories)

* 1 serving Cauliflower Rice-Stuffed Peppers

* 2 cups mixed greens dressed with 1 Tbsp. Citrus Vinaigrette

Meal-Prep Tip: You’ll use the remaining Citrus Vinaigrette next week.

Daily Totals: 1,203 calories, 57g protein, 146 g carbohydrates, 31 g fiber, 49 g fat, 1,120 mg sodium.

Day 7

Breakfast (307 calories)

* 2 cups Jason Mraz’s Avocado Green Smoothie

A.M. Snack (35 calories)

* 1 clementine

Lunch (352 calories)

* 2 1/4 cup Tomato, Cucumber & White-Bean Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

* 1 slice sprouted-grain bread, toasted and topped with 1 Tbsp. hummus

If you’re taking this salad to go, pack it up in this handy meal-prep container, specifically made to keep your greens fresh and dressing separate until you’re ready to eat. Buy It! amazon.com, $19 for a 9-piece set.

Meal-Prep Tip: Save a serving of the Tomato, Cucumber & White-Bean Salad with Basil Vinaigrette to have for lunch on Day 10. Store the dressing separately.

P.M. Snack (30 calories)

* 1 plum

Dinner (490 calories)

* 1 1/2 cups Mexican Cabbage Soup

* 2 cups No-Cook Black Bean Salad

Meal-Prep Tip: Save a 1-cup serving of the No-Cook Black Bean Salad to have for lunch on Day 9. Store the dressing separately and wait to add until ready to eat. Pack up 2 servings of the Mexican Cabbage Soup in a leak-proof container (To buy: amazon.com, $7.19 for 1) to have for lunch on Days 9 & 12.

Daily Totals: 1,214 calories, 35 g protein, 163 g carbohydrates, 48 g fiber, 55 g fat, 1,365 mg sodium.

Week 2

How to Meal Prep Your Week of Meals:

A little prep at the beginning of the week goes a long way to make the rest of your week easy.

  1. Make a batch of the Meal-Prep Sheet-Pan Chicken Thighs and Basic Quinoa when preparing the Greek Kale Salad with Quinoa & Chicken recipe for dinner on Day 8. This way, you’ll have leftover chicken and quinoa to use during the week. Store leftovers of the chicken and quinoa separately in large glass meal-prep containers. (To buy: amazon.com, $38)

Day 8

Breakfast (338 calories)

* 1 serving Scrambled Eggs with Vegetables

A.M. Snack (119 calories)

* 1/4 cup hummus

* 1 cup sliced cucumber

Lunch (325 calories)

* 1 serving Veggie & Hummus Sandwich

P.M. Snack (30 calories)

* 1 plum

Dinner (302 calories)

* 1 serving Greek Kale Salad with Quinoa & Chicken

Evening Snack (102 calories)

* 1 serving Broiled Mango

Daily Totals: 1,216 calories, 58 g protein, 121 g carbohydrates, 26 g fiber, 60 g fat, 1,816 mg sodium.

Day 9

Breakfast (307 calories)

* 2 cups Jason Mraz’s Avocado Green Smoothie

A.M. Snack (35 calories)

* 1 clementine

Lunch (328 calories)

* 1 1/2 cups Mexican Cabbage Soup

* 1 cup No-Cook Black Bean Salad

P.M. Snack (92 calories)

* 3/4 cup Kiwi & Mango with Fresh Lime Zest

Dinner (453 calories)

* 1 cup riced cauliflower, heated

* 1 serving Soy-Lime Roasted Tofu

* 2 cups Colorful Roasted Sheet-Pan Veggies

* 1 Tbsp. Citrus Vinaigrette

Top riced cauliflower with tofu, veggies and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

Daily Totals: 1,216 calories, 44 g protein, 149 g carbohydrates, 42 g fiber, 59 g fat, 1,248 mg sodium.

Day 10

Breakfast (290 calories)

* 1 serving Peanut Butter-Banana Cinnamon Toast

A.M. Snack (64 calories)

* 1 cup raspberries

Lunch (370 calories)

* 1 serving Chicken & Apple Kale Wraps

P.M. Snack (92 calories)

* 1 plum

* 8 almonds

Dinner (402 calories)

* 1 serving Panko-Crusted Pork Chops with Asian Slaw

Daily Totals: 1,217 calories, 72 g protein, 127 g carbohydrates, 29 g fiber, 50 g fat, 1,133 mg sodium.

Day 11

Breakfast (270 calories)

* 1 serving Avocado-Egg Toast

A.M. Snack (64 calories)

* 1 cup raspberries

Lunch (302 calories)

* 1 serving Greek Kale Salad with Quinoa & Chicken

P.M. Snack (95 calories)

* 1 medium apple

Dinner (478 calories)

* 1 serving Salmon & Asparagus with Lemon-Garlic Butter Sauce

* 1 cup Basic Quinoa

Meal-Prep Tip: Cook a hard-boiled egg tonight so it’s ready for your P.M. Snack on Day 12.

Daily Totals: 1,209 calories, 68 g protein, 128 g carbohydrates, 28 g fiber, 50 g fat, 1,233 mg sodium.

Day 12

Breakfast (290 calories)

* 1 serving Peanut Butter-Banana Cinnamon Toast

A.M. Snack (96 calories)

* 1 clementine

* 8 almonds

Lunch (344 calories)

* 1 1/2 cups Mexican Cabbage Soup

* 2 cups mixed greens

* 1 Tbsp. Citrus Vinaigrette

* 2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds

Toss greens in vinaigrette. Top with sunflower seeds.

P.M. Snack (78 calories)

* 1 hard-boiled egg, seasoned with a pinch each of salt and pepper

Dinner (408 calories)

* 1 serving Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs

Daily Totals: 1,216 calories, 60 g protein, 124 g carbohydrates, 30 g fiber, 56 g fat, 1,463 mg sodium.

Day 13

Breakfast (264 calories)

* 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

* 1/4 cup muesli

* 1/4 cup blueberries

A.M. Snack (70 calories)

* 2 clementines

Lunch (325 calories)

* 1 serving Veggie & Hummus Sandwich

P.M. Snack (95 calories)

* 1 medium apple

Dinner (446 calories)

* 1 serving Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Pesto & Shrimp

Daily Totals: 1,200 calories, 68 g protein, 133 g carbohydrates, 31 g fiber, 52 g fat, 1,102 mg sodium.

Day 14

Breakfast (270 calories)

* 1 serving Avocado-Egg Toast

A.M. Snack (70 calories)

* 2 clementines

Lunch (378 calories)

* 2 1/4 cup Tomato, Cucumber & White-Bean Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

* 1 slice sprouted-grain bread, toasted and topped with 2 Tbsp. hummus

P.M. Snack (30 calories)

* 1 plum

Dinner (458 calories)

* 1 serving Fish with Coconut-Shallot Sauce

* 1/2 cup Basic Quinoa

* 2 cups mixed greens topped with 1 Tbsp. Citrus Vinaigrette

Daily Totals: 1,207 calories, 61 g protein, 113 g carbohydrates, 27 g fiber, 60 g fat, 1,146 mg sodium.

You made it!

Great job following this clean-eating meal plan. Whether you made every single recipe in this diet plan or not, we hope you found it inspiring, exciting and informational. Keep up the good work and don’t miss our other healthy meal plans.

Clean Eating Meal Plan: Improve Your Diet & Health

Clean eating - Dr. Axe

Notice how in recent years there’s been a growing trend toward eating more “whole foods,” while avoiding things that commonly cause allergies, sensitives, sugar cravings and weight gain? Even many big-name supermarket chains are making a serious effort to clean up store shelves and remove suspicious ingredients from products — such as trans fats, for example. This movement has been nicknamed “clean eating,” which basically means eating foods as close to their natural state as possible.

Practicing clean and mindful eating is a powerful alternative to the unhealthy, detrimental fad diets many have grown accustomed to. So what is clean eating exactly, and how do you do it? Let’s find out.

What Is Clean Eating?

New to eating clean? It’s a lot like eating the “healing diet” that Dr. Axe has been prescribing for years — considering it eliminates or reduces processed products, food irritants and allergens.

Instead, it focuses on quality ingredients that supply essential nutrients and emphasizes cooking more nutritious recipes at home.

Most clean eating programs have these main goals in mind:

  • Decrease inflammation — Inflammation has been linked to nearly every chronic disease there is, since it damages healthy cells, arterial walls, joints, brain tissue and the digestive tract. By reducing inflammation, your body is better able to heal from any disease and prevent future diseases frm forming. This is exactly why you want to add lots of anti-inflammatory foods (like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, ancient grains, healthy fats and clean protein) to your clean eating meal plan.
  • Help lower acidity and alkalize the body — Your body has an optimal pH range that it fights hard to maintain, but acidic foods (like soda, processed meats and refined grain products) make your body less alkaline than it likes to be. All diseases thrive in an acidic environment, which is why the alkaline diet is ideal for protecting your body from the effects of aging and a poor lifestyle.
  • Better control blood sugar (glucose) levels — The level of sugar you consume impacts metabolic and hormonal functions, including how you store body fat and the level of stress hormones you produce. You can help manage your weight with clean eating by skipping refined carbohydrates and sugary foods or beverages. That’s because clean eating balances blood glucose levels, allowing insulin receptors to work correctly and producing enough satiety hormones (like leptin) to maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Remove toxins and artificial ingredients — Toxicity in our environment has been linked to obesity, hormonal imbalances and autoimmune diseases. We acquire toxins from low-quality animal products, produce sprayed with pesticide chemicals and all sorts of refined foods high in artificial ingredients.
  • Provide optimum nutrients — Nutritional deficiencies are common today since a large percentage of the food supply is processed and stripped of natural vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes. Including more fresh, real ingredients in your diet helps fight oxidative stress, slow the aging process, improve mental capacity and increase energy levels.

Benefits:

One of the major upsides of eating clean is that inflammatory, processed products are greatly reduced, while all sorts of real and mostly fresh/raw foods are encouraged.

Unfortunately in America today, many of the foods we eat are highly processed or genetically modified, so any diet that recommends you eat more natural ingredients is a major step in the right direction.

Processed foods tend to be irritating and hard to digest, since they can damage the delicate lining of your digestive tract. Any people dealing with allergies, heart disease or cardiovascular issues, arthritis, digestive dysfunction, insomnia, depression, or anxiety — basically all forms of chronic disease — owe it to themselves to eat cleanly.

Not only does eating clean help reverse symptoms of most lifestyle or inflammation-related diseases, but it can also be empowering, making you feel more energetic, self-confident, upbeat and calm.

How to Follow: Foods to Eat/Avoid

How do you begin clean eating? While this way of eating means different things to different people, some basic principles apply to just about everyone.

A clean eating meal plan consists of eating mostly plant-based, fresh foods (especially vegetables and some fruit), along with adequate amounts of quality protein and healthy fats.

Some people might associate clean eating with being “plant-based” or even vegetarian/vegan, but this isn’t necessarily true. It’s not about eliminating animal foods and only eating plant foods; it’s about creating balance and choosing the best quality you can.

Dr. Axe personally recommends about equal amounts (30 percent each or so) of clean protein sources, healthy fats and low-glycemic carbohydrates in the forms of fruits and vegetables.

Foods to Include:

  • Fruits: strawberries, oranges, lemons, blackberries, limes, raspberries, pears, apples, blueberries, etc.
  • Vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, asparagus, garlic, cucumber, onions, ginger, etc.
  • Nuts: almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, macadamia nuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts
  • Seeds: hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds
  • Legumes: black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, lima beans, chickpeas, lentils
  • Whole grains: quinoa, barley, buckwheat, millet, brown rice
  • Healthy fats: olive oil, coconut oil, MCT oil, grass-fed butter, ghee, avocado oil
  • Dairy products: goat milk, kefir, goat cheese, probiotic yogurt, raw milk
  • Meat: grass-fed beef, lamb, venison, wild game
  • Fish: wild-caught salmon, tuna, mackerel, anchovies, sardines
  • Poultry: organic chicken, turkey, goose, duck
  • Cage-free eggs
  • Condiments: hummus, guacamole, apple cider vinegar, mustard, salsa, balsamic vinegar, liquid aminos
  • Herbs and spices: basil, oregano, rosemary, turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, black pepper, etc.
  • Natural sweeteners: stevia, raw honey, maple syrup, dates, monk fruit
  • Beverages: water, tea, kombucha, bone broth

Foods to Avoid:

  • Refined grains: white rice, pasta, white bread, breakfast cereals
  • Added sugars: soda, juice, candies, cookies, granola bars, baked goods, ice cream
  • Unhealthy fats: refined vegetable oils, shortening, hydrogenated fats, fried foods
  • Conventional meat and poultry
  • Farmed fish
  • Processed foods: potato chips, crackers, frozen meals, microwave popcorn, processed meat, instant noodles, etc.

If a clean eating meal plan sounds far removed from how you currently eat, here are three steps you can take to get started:

1. Switch Up Your Fats

Work on removing “bad fats” and replacing them with nourishing “good fats.” This means choosing products that are free of hydrogenated (trans fats) and partially hydrogenated oils as much as possible, which is pretty easy to do if you cook with real fats at home and avoid packaged products or fried foods most of the time.

In addition to nixing trans fats, skip refined vegetable oils (including soybean oil, canola oil, sunflower and safflower oil), and instead use healthy fats like coconut oil, real olive oil or grass-fed butter when cooking.

2. Focus on High-Quality Animal Products

If you eat a lot of animal proteins (meat, poultry, eggs, fish, dairy), you want to make sure you focus on purchasing the best-quality products you can. Many studies have linked factory farmed meats and commercial dairy with inflammation, cancer and heart disease.

Opt for proteins that are grass-fed, pasture-raised, cage-free and wild-caught. This ensures you consume plenty of healthy fats such as omega-3s. Plus, there’s also concern over accumulation of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and hormones in conventional meats and other animal foods.

If you can find it hard to digest dairy, try raw dairy products, such as yogurt or kefir, which are probiotic foods and immune system boosters.

3. Remove Added Sugar and Make Your Grains Whole

Refined sugars and refined grain products make up a growing percentage of most people’s calories today. That’s a big problem, considering high-glycemic or refined sugars cause elevated glucose levels and contribute to insulin resistance, leading to weight gain, premature aging and degenerative diseases.

On top of that, refined sugary foods are usually “empty calories,” providing little nutrition, and many even contain antinutrients that hinder your ability to absorb nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Even many gluten-free foods can lack nutrients, so don’t necessarily fall for marketing claims on packaged foods.

Check ingredient labels carefully for added sugar (which can be listed under dozens of different names), and make your grains “ancient” and 100 percent whole.

Limit snacks and drinks that spike blood sugar most, which includes most cereals, sweetened drinks like juice or soda, white rice, white pasta, and white bread. We also get a lot of added sugar from sneaky sources like condiments, canned soups or sauces, lunch meats, pizza, “natural” fruit drinks, etc.

Wondering what to eat instead? Emphasize low-glycemic carbohydrates in the forms of fruits and vegetables, plus 100 percent (ideally sprouted) grains, which have high amounts of fiber, enzymes, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Fiber in whole grains and plant foods helps slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, keeps you fuller, improves energy levels, and supports gut and heart health.

Sample Clean Eating Meal Plan

What can I eat in a day of clean eating? Here’s an example of meals that include some of the best clean eating foods:

Breakfasts:

  • Tropical Acai Bowl with Mango and Hemp Seeds
  • Avocado Toast 5 Ways
  • Crustless Spinach Quiche

Lunches:

  • Tuscan White Bean Soup
  • Cauliflower Pizza
  • Curried Turkey Salad
  • Fish Tacos

Snacks:

  • Gluten-free Banana Bread
  • Chia Seed Pudding

Dinners:

  • Grilled Honey Glazed Salmon
  • Butternut Squash Ravioli
  • Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice

Risks and Side Effects

In recent years, there’s been a growing concern over people who strictly eat clean to the point that it becomes obsessive and unhealthy. This has been termed “orthorexia,” a condition in which a clean eater takes things too far and starts experiencing high amounts of stress and preoccupation over his or her diet.

As the National Eating Disorder Foundation puts it, orthorexia is a fixation on righteous eating that “starts out as an innocent attempt to eat more healthfully, but causes othorexics to become fixated on food quality and purity. They become consumed with what and how much to eat, and how to deal with slip-ups … Self-esteem becomes wrapped up in the purity of orthorexics’ diet.”

There’s no doubt that a healthy diet is important for your health, but the amount of anxiety some people experience over making the perfect food choice all the time can really backfire.

If you notice yourself spending more and more time researching or picking out foods at the grocery store, becoming anxious when eating out at restaurants with friends or struggling to find foods that fit your growing criteria of what’s considered “healthy,” you might be developing orthorexia and should consider speaking with a professional.

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